Watching English multi-instrumentalist Tom Misch headline a sold-out Hollywood Palladium on Friday night got me thinking. Is there anybody even remotely in his lane that is big enough to sell out the 3,700-capacity venue?
Tom Misch takes elements of jazz, hip-hop, and soul and combines them seamlessly. In his early work, he looped all of the production himself. As a live show, he now tours with a large band backing him up. I can’t think of a single other act along those lines that can draw that big of a crowd. During the show, it hit me why. He packs enough nostalgia in those tunes that they seem familiar in a way.
And this nostalgia came more than just in his medley of late ’90s early ’00s hip-hop or his cover of OutKast’s “Prototype” (a song that fits Misch’s voice like a glove). It’s in the riffs of his own songs too. The opening instrumental track “Before Paris” is something I think my dad would have dug, or something Gang Starr’s Guru would’ve rapped over. Can we just agree to replace all hold music with Tom Misch instrumentals?
It seemed like some of the crowd wasn’t feeling some of the more mellow parts and were there just to dance. “Tick Tock” has that slow intro before it picks up tempo and is something you can really move to and people really got into that.
“You’re on My Mind” was the song I saw people holding their partners close and swaying to. But it was set-closing “South of the River” and “Lost in Paris” that the crowd lost their minds for the most.
Geography is one of the year’s best records and things are only going to continue to grow from here for the 23-year-old talent. I’m sure he was a guy that labels were looking at as “how do we sell this?” It’s why he’s not with a major and it’s probably for the best — because Tom Misch doesn’t have to fit in a box but can be the formless musician he is.